Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m 17 and happy to report that I have stopped smoking. I haven’t had a cigarette in over a month, and this boy won’t ever smoke again. That’s a promise I made to myself, and I plan to keep it.
I still have four packs of cigarettes left unopened, and my uncle offered me $20 for them, but I hate to contribute to his habit.
I had intended to destroy the cigarettes so they wouldn’t bring harm to anyone else, but I’ve simply left them unopened in one of my drawers. What should I do?
Rock Island, Illinois
Dear Ex-Smoker: One option is to destroy the cigarettes as you originally planned. Another option, since he would buy his cigarettes elsewhere anyway, is to give your uncle your leftover packs and have him make out a check for $20 to the American Cancer Society. You’ll be doing a good thing by making a donation to a worthy cause, and it may make your dear ol’ uncle think more about his habit.
Dear Dr. Wallace: Help! I’m hoping you’ll have some advice to help me get rid of this problem, which seems to be wrecking my whole life at the moment.
I was going out with this boy from the end of last school year into the beginning of this past summer, and I thought I really liked him. He then joined the Navy, and that’s when I began to realize I didn’t like him all that much. Other guys here keep looking better and better to me.
After thinking things over, I decided we should break up. We had a lot of differences: He was pushy, and I didn’t want that. I practically live at church, and he didn’t like that. Plus, we also experienced many more differences of opinion.
Anyway, now that you kind of have an idea, here’s the problem: I wrote to him, and he answered my letter saying he understood, and maybe it was for the better. I was so happy to know he understood that I kept on writing to him — which he asked me to do — and I made sure he knew we were only friends.
I couldn’t believe it! I have told him so many times how I feel. I’m only 17 and have no intention of getting serious with anybody. He now wrote that he wants us to get married. NO WAY! I know in my heart everything is over between us, but he doesn’t seem to understand this or want to listen carefully to my words. How can I keep him from bugging me about things when I only have one answer — no — to each question he asks?
— Moving On, Newport, Rhode Island
Dear Moving On: Send one more letter and inform him this is your last communication with him. Be clear in this letter that you have moved on from this relationship. Wish him the best in your last note to him, and then stop writing entirely. If he keeps writing to you, simply don’t respond. He’ll get the message eventually; the sooner he does, the better it will be for him, too.